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E. Palaniswami presents a long wish list to PM Modi

LiveMint logoLiveMint 28-02-2017 Dharani Thangavelu

Chennai: The Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami on Monday met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and presented a memorandum on 23 crucial issues related to the state.

On the burning issue of exploration of hydrocarbons in Neduvasal village of Pudukkottai district, which has led to protests in Tamil Nadu in the last two weeks, Palaniswami requested Modi to instruct the Union ministry of petroleum and natural gas to take any action only after “adequate consultation with stakeholders and ensuring that the interests of the farmers are fully safeguarded”.

In a meeting that lasted for 30 minutes, Palaniswami highlighted that the Tamil Nadu government had already sought the release of Rs39,565 crore for drought relief at the earliest and also urged the Centre to release at least Rs2,500 crore immediately from its National Disaster Response Fund.

The state government had sought Rs22,573 crore for relief and restoration after the Vardah cyclone in December. The state government had also requested an immediate release of Rs1,000 crore.

“A Central team had visited the cyclone-affected areas for an on-the-spot assessment. However, so far no funds have been released by the Central government based on the state government’s detailed memorandum,” said Palaniswami, who was in the national capital for the first time after assuming office as the chief minister on 16 February.

Seeking exemption for Tamil Nadu from the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET), the chief minister also requested for “speedy setting up of AIIMS at Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu”.

Regarding the ever-pending water-sharing dispute, Palaniswami urged the Centre to ensure that the Cauvery Management Board and Cauvery Water Regulation Committee are constituted immediately in accordance with the Final Order of the Tribunal (FRT).

The chief minister had highlighted the protection of the traditional fishing rights of Tamil Nadu fishermen in the Palk Strait connecting neighbouring Sri Lanka.

“A comprehensive special package for diversification of fisheries which total up to Rs1,650 crore, with a recurring component of Rs10 crore may be approved at the earliest,” said Palaniswami while addressing the reporters after the meeting with the prime minister.

A grant of dual citizenship for Sri Lankan Tamil refugees living in Tamil Nadu was also raised.

On the public distribution system, he mentioned that Tamil Nadu is implementing the National Food Security Act with universal coverage and as a result an additional quantity of 85,000 metric tonnes of rice per month is required. “The memorandum sought supply of this additional quantity at a concessional rate of Rs8.30 per kg and requested that Direct Benefit Transfer for Public Distribution System should not be implemented,” said a press release from the chief minister’s office.

The memorandum submitted to the prime minister also highlighted on the pending infrastructure projects in the state and raised concerns about the Mekedatu Scheme of Karnataka, the construction of dams by Kerala across Pambar and Bhavani rivers which are part of the Cauvery basin, the restoration of water level to FRL of 152 feet in the Mullaperiyar Dam, inter-linking of rivers, and approval and funding for the Athikadavu–Avinashi scheme.

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